James Maddison says sorry, Mike Ashley sees what he lost and Newcastle's European boost

Eddie Howe is closing in on a second European place in successive seasons at St James' Park but anybody throwing the money argument the way of the Newcastle United boss would be wide of the mark.

If anything Howe has underlined his qualities as a tracksuit manager during a season of woe for the Magpies in which almost every player has suffered with an injury. True, Howe has spent north of £400million and seen significant investment pumped into a training ground that was in need of repair.

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But he has also worked with what he inherited and that could not have been more obvious when the team sheets were dished out at St James' Park on Saturday morning. For Howe, named an opening line-up that included six players that were already at the club pre-takeover.

Bearing in mind Howe also has another five pre-takeover players in the treatment room that would have been contenders to start against Spurs, it's clear that the previous owner Mike Ashley simply couldn't see that Newcastle needed just a little bit of TLC and some smart managerial decisions to achieve success on Tyneside.

In a week in which Ashley failed to win a court battle to allow him to sell the sought-after new Adidas Toon shirts, he must have watched on another pang of regret on Saturday lunchtime as Spurs were rolled over at St James' Park in front of a sell out crowd.

The new owners have pumped money into the squad since taking over, but we are not talking astronomical amounts here. And with shrewd signings like Tino Livramento, Lewis Hall, Anthony Gordon and Alexander Isak snapped up, it's little wonder that Newcastle's current owners were basking in the glorious Tyneside sunshine after the win to soak up another big win.

All of which was in Ashley's grasp not that long ago. With the last battle with Ashley now hopefully in the rearview mirror, Newcastle fans hope to be toasting European football next season, a feat that could well be achieved with the bulk of a squad that were fighting against relegation just two years ago!

James Maddison issues apology to Spurs fans after shocking display

In fairness to James Maddison, who had endured the boos throughout a long afternoon at St James' Park, the England man faced up to the media after the 4-0 loss to United.

Maddison was one of the last off the field for Spurs and looked inconsolable as he headed down the tunnel after the heavy loss. But he was quick to offer a response to the Tottenham fans who stayed behind.

Maddison said afterwards: "We can only put our hands up and apologise to the travelling fans today. Even at the end when we went over a load of them were still clapping us after a performance like that.

"You don’t expect to be clapped when you go and applaud the fans so thank you to them for sticking with us."

The European bonus for Eddie Howe and his players just hours after the final whistle

As many of Newcastle's players were finishing their evening meal after the big win over Spurs, they were handed a little bit of an unexpected bonus. Despite Man United's problems this season, few would have expected them to fail away to Howe's old team Bournemouth.

But that's exactly what unfolded in the teatime kick off on the South Coast as Bournemouth twice took the lead at the Vitality Stadium. Man United may have hit back to claim a point but that was not enough to stop Newcastle ending Saturday night in sixth spot.

Both Man United and Newcastle are now level on 50 points each but the Magpies' goal difference is much better with an 18-goal advantage over the Red Devils. The two teams will also face off in the penultimate game of the season at Old Trafford.

It's all eyes on West Ham against Fulham on Sunday afternoon (2pm) with David Moyes' team knowing only a win will take them above Newcastle. Should Aston Villa lose to Arsenal, Newcastle will have a game in hand over Unai Emery's team and a 10-point gap to chase down in the final six matches.